President Salem Al-Meslet of the Syrian Opposition Coalition (SOC) met with Consul General Maksym Vdovychenko of Ukraine in Istanbul to discuss the dire situation in northwestern Syria following the recent earthquake. The meeting, which was organized by the SOC’s Foreign Relations Department, was attended by Vice President Abdulahad Astepho, Political Committee Secretary Abdel Majeed Barakat, and Political Committee member Abdullah Kaddo.
The two sides discussed recent political developments and Al-Meslet emphasized that both the Syrian and Ukrainian peoples are facing similar tragedies. He highlighted the need for an international effort to stop the attacks on both countries, as the Syrian people revolted against the Assad regime only to face further brutality from the regime, along with its Russian and Iranian allies.
Al-Meslet pointed out that despite the earthquake disaster having taken place five days prior, aid from the United Nations has yet to reach the affected areas in northwest Syria. He stated that the SOC is working with the Turkish government to open the Bab Al-Salama and Al-Raie border crossings and to repair damaged roads, despite the limited resources of the Syrian Interim Government.
Al-Meslet also mentioned that the Assad regime and its allies are trying to politicize the earthquake by invoking sanctions to excuse their failure to provide aid to the earthquake victims. He stressed that despite the presence of many Turkish-Syrian crossing points, all of them are closed due to a Russian veto, with the exception of the Bab al-Hawa crossing.
Astepho expressed that the Syrian people have supported the Ukrainian people from the beginning of Russian aggression and he hopes that both countries will ultimately achieve peace and independence. He added that communication with the Turkish government is ongoing and that three border crossings have been opened for UN aid, although the earthquake damage to the roads has caused a delay. Astepho noted that no international aid had arrived in the first 72 hours after the disaster.
Vdovychenko emphasized that the Russian aggression against both Ukraine and Syria is one and the same, as Russia is bombing schools and hospitals in both countries. He added that even kindergartens are not spared from Russian attacks.
(Source: SOC’s Media Department)